Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: February 2013 (Page 1 of 2)

Week 7 – Hungry Like the Quix

Here are the other things besides kicking ass at the Indoor Tri…

Food:

So, out with the face stuffing of good food, in with calorie restriction.  And there was much rejoicing.  NOT.

My goal each day is to eat around 1700 calories (and increase that if I’m burning way way more than normal).  Some days, that worked.  Some days, it didn’t.  Sunday was the only crappy day, I ate a breakfast taco and a half, snacks, ordered Jimmy Johns (on wheat, but still), and drank way too much champagne.  Finally, by 5pm, I realized I just had no calories for dinner and pissed and whined and bitched but I just ate a very small snack and was fine.

The rest of the week, though, was pretty good.  I had a few drinks on Thursday, but kept it reasonable.  I spent most of Saturday either training or getting to places to go train, so I couldn’t eat as much real food as I would have liked, so a lot of those extra calories were ergogenic aids like gels/bars/gatorade because I didn’t have enough time to let food settle before moving to the next session.  I more than earned my ~2500 calories that day though.

Monday:  24 DQS, 1695 calories (2077 burned)
Tuesday:  29 DQS, 1760 calories (2953 burned)
Wednesday:  29 DQS, 1679 calories (2241 burned)
Thursday: 24 DQS, 1980 calories (3144 burned)
Friday: 24 DQS, 1864 calories (2108 burned)
Saturday:  26 DQS, 2445 calories (3110 burned)
Sunday: 9 DQS, 2778 calories (2705 burned)

Total avgs: 23.5 DQS, 2028 calories (2619 burned)

Weight: lowest 184.0, highest 186.2

This should be doing things.  My deficit is around 500-600 which is just what I want (just not terribly consistent per day).  I definitely feel HUNGRY now in a way I didn’t before, and according to the internet, that’s probably normal and ok even though I will continue to bitch about it on twitter until I start seeing some damn progress.  I feel like I’ve been hungry for a week and I will never be full ever again in my life.  But I’m going to give this 3 weeks, like I gave stuffing my face with DQ-happy food, and see where I’m at and what I need to tweak.

For this week coming up, I pre-tracked so I have a good idea of what I will be eating and when.  Figure I’ll give that a try and see if that does good things.

Training:

Running:  Getting better by the week.  It’s nice to be running in the 11s, running longer than 10k, and getting in a little speedwork finally.  Oddly enough, my HR drops a little even with the same effort after a sprint, it’s like “hey, this isn’t nearly as hard as I was working before”.  Feet are holding up alright, they were a little tender after the pounding that was Sat and Sun, but nothing that lingered.  I can actually wear shoes again besides my running shoes and my black tennies, which is making my work wear a little more varied. I’ll be excited when it goes away completely, but it’s definitely better.  Also, all this perfect running weather (60s and sunny) isn’t hurting my run mojo.

Bike: Feel sort of stalled here until I get to get out and ride more.  I’m varying up my resistances and doing drills, but I don’t feel like I really am going to make that much more progress until I start doing more outdoor rides.  March will be my month!

Swim: Ahhh, I just love the pool lately.  Drills are starting to be things that just help me count laps, as my form is getting better (and with that, my times are).  I am looking forward to getting some lake swims in, because it does take a bit to adjust from the nice pool to the murky, nature-having, no side to push off like, but I think I’m setting myself up for a good season.  Also, taking my fins to the lake and cruising around the buoys sounds like a blast!

Weights: Yep, super heavy weights are fun, and work in a completely different way.  I lift, and I’m like “ok, that’s it?”.  Then, after the session, it’s like BLAM.  I feel it.  Oddly enough I’m crushing the upper body goals, but I’ve got a bit to go (+50 lbs to my squat, +150 lbs to my leg press?) to hit leg goals, but it’s fun to pile on the weight and I get thumbs ups from the trainers at the gym so there’s that.

By the days:

Monday:  Swim: 1200 m in 25mins (wore fins for some drills)(actually did this on Sunday, but counting for this week)
Tuesday:  Bike: 20.64 mi in 60 mins – first 40 mins lighter resistance (2 of 5) with 3×1 min one leg drills, last 20 mins higher resistance (4 of 5) Run: 3.91 in 45 mins. 153-154 HR average 167 max. Weights: 3×4… 290 lb leg press, 120 lb rows, 100 lb pulldowns. 3×20…. incline sit ups w/10 lb plate w/twist, 110 lb calf presses.
Wednesday: Swim: 1500m in 37 mins.
Thursday: Bike: 20.46 in 60 mins – First 25 mins at 2/5, 3x1min one leg drills. Next 20 at 3/5, worked on concentrating on the push then the pull (not set intervals). Finished with 15 mins at 4/5, just trying to keep up the pace as best I could. Avg HR: 127, Max 191? (probably a spike) Run: 4.12 miles – 47:51, 6×20 sec sprints. Weights: 3×4… 185 lb squats, 120 lb rows, 105 lb pulldowns. 3×20… incline situps w/10 lb plate w/twist, 65 lb hamstring curls.
Friday: off
Saturday: Bike: 30 mins, 10 miles.  Avg HR 111, Max HR 132. Run: 7.4 mi in 1h 30. HR avg 151, max 171. Swim: 1050m in 25 mins.  Spin class: 45 mins of pain, torture, and awesomeness.
Sunday: Indoor Tri! Swim: 487m in 10 mins. Bike: 30 mins of quick spin. Run: 2.13 in 20 mins.

10 hours total, goal was 10 hours.  So yay!

Definitely definitely ready for this next stepback week.   I feel a little fried.

Other Stuff:

Not much.  This week was really just train and eat and work, boring and lovely.  Peak weeks are just going to be like that, I suppose and I have no complaints.

Having Monday off was nice though – we were able to relax a bit, while also transferring our clothes into our new bedroom furniture, batch cooking, doing laundry, and a few other things.  I could really use a 3 day weekend more often!

Question of the week: how do you control your appetite when you’re hungry and know you shouldn’t eat more?

Indoor Tri – Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Heart rate training is kinda the bomb.  As much as I’ve really, really wanted to tear up my HR strap and stomp on it’s itty bitty little pieces in January, it provides someone like me (read: someone who tends to have unreasonably high expectations of myself) a tool to actually predict that I am actually performing where I should be with my CURRENT fitness, not my unicorns and rainbows wishlist fitness that I think I should be able to perform at with the drop of a hat, even with last week being our first peak build week, culminating in an epic 3.5 hour session yesterday ending with the spin class from hell (you’re in the desert, in 4 feet of sand, it’s 117 degrees… yep) and very little speedwork and a small dose of heel fuckery and new achillies fuckery on the other side (grrrr… at least it’s gone now).

So, my expectations:

  • Killing it on the swim.  Fast efficient fish.  I have been kicking swim ass this year.  Goal: 20 lengths in 10 mins (500m in 10 mins).
  • Killing it on the bike.  Last year I did 15.5, so more than that.  Significantly.
  • Doing what I could on the run.  Recovering from the stupid heel and the fact that I’m just this week starting to do any sort of speedwork and I’ve spent a zillion months just running at m-pace or below, my only goal was to make myself hurt.  I knew there was about a 1% chance I could beat my time from last year but I wanted to see those heart rate numbers climb to the 170s and stay there.

And, like I said, the fact that this was build 1 week #3, which is first peak week (10.5 hours), I definitely didn’t go into this tapered.  And by not tapered, I mean by A LOT.  Yesterday I did my longest run for the last 3 months (1.5 hours), trainered for 30 mins, swam for 25, and then, as I said, the spin class from hell for 45 mins.  Highest volume day thus far.  I went to bed sore, hurting, hoping my legs and feet and body would hold out and perform.  I think I actually slept crappy because I was scared of waking up just broken.

Woke up, I was a little sluggish but in one piece.  We did our normal morning race day thing, I paid hommage to the feet-no-hurty dieties, and got our hotnesses on up to Lifetime 30 mins early (yay)!

I “laid out my transition” in the locker, and got all the stuff in a bag to go upstairs for the cycle/run (bike shoes, run shoes, chomps, waterbottle, zune, garmin, etc).  We were able to get in and do a bunch of warmup laps which was awesome, I got to go through the process of waking up my swim stroke like I normally do, and then once the wave before us was done and we jumped in – holy SHIT it was cold (but I guess that’s good for swimming fast).  I had new earplugs I was trying out and they worked well enough (and you can actually HEAR WELL with these in, which is super nice) and I got warm and rested for a few minutes and then the whistle blew and it was go time.

I was ready to hurt in the pool, but hurt smart.  The two other gals in our wave just FLEW out of the gate and I wanted to try and swim them down, but I was like “WAIT”.  I knew they went out too fast, and by lap 4, I overtook them just swimming consistently.  I was trying to stay at 100m/2 mins.  I made the first one no problemo, then just barely made the next, and slowed a bit.  I knew by 2 mins to go that a) I had won my heat by a lot and b) I would have to bust some ass to get 20 full lengths.  I increased my pace a bit and aimed for 19.5, and when the whistle blew, I got it.  I’ll break that 2min/100m soon, but not today.  I was just happy to execute on being a fast, efficient fish, and feel like I hurt a little in the pool (by the end, I was hitting the wall, gasping, and immediately turned around to swim more, it was awesome).

Transitions suck for girls.  Getting on a wet sports bra is HELL.  Next time, I will just say fuck it, and wear it under my swim suit and drip all over the floor.  I had to ask another girl (who was not part of the fun and games) to help me get it over my back and she looked crazy mortified (oh well).

I got up to the cycle studio with my bag o crap with 2 mins to spare.  They helped me adjust the bike and get my clips in, but I was still doing that 30 secs into the ride.  So yay, not a fair start but whatevs.  Finally, I got my music going, I had both clips in, things were good (minus the fact that my seat could have been a LITTLE lower but I wasn’t about to stop and fix it), and was HOLY CRAP GOING 50mph with not that much effort.  Then I realized it was on KM so that was 30 (aka, a little slower than last year).

I got into a rhythm but the calculator was all over the place (40, 50, 60,70, 80, 0).  I noticed when I fucked with the resistance it gamed the system a little bit increasing the numbers so I did that a lot.  I hurt a little less on the bike than anywhere else, but I rode steady at 155-170 BPM and rocked out 18.2 miles (calibrated to a spin bike so it means nothing in RL).  I tried getting all zen and closing my eyes but when I opened them I found my pace was LOWER, so I just focused on those numbers and tried to maximize them.  When we hopped off, I was probably about avg 165 HR and 29.3 km, which equated to 18.2 miles.  Almost 3 more than last year, YEAH!

Got to the treadmill, put my shoes on, and commented to Zliten that I hoped I could run.  On the bike, the last 15 mins kinda hurt my achilies on my right, to add to the questionable nature of my left heel after my longest run in months yesterday.   I was not about to end the season on a 20 minute treadmill run, so if it didn’t get better, I was planning on walking out the tri and being fine with that.  They said 3,2,1 go…. and it’s been so long since I’ve ran on a treadmill I forgot how to start it.   10 second penalty.  I started at 6.0 (10 min/miles) and figured I’d hold there if I couldn’t do anything else, but then my pain eased and I bumped it up 0.1 each 2 mins.   I got up to the pain cave at about 10 mins in and my feet were feeling ok, so I just did what I could to stay there.

Zliten was pacing me, and he was about .01 to .02 ahead of me the whole time, so at 15 mins I turned on the next level of pain and, surprise surprise, he matched me every step of the way.  I finally got equal at 1 min to go, busting ass at 8.0 to 8.5 and we both finished at 2.13.  About 9:20s.  After reflection, sort of disappointing for both of us, but it’s what we had in us that day.

We busted ass to tie, and tied another gal (for the run) in our heat, and beat the other gal.

Total:

Quix: 19.5 swim lengths (487m) in 10 min, 18.2 miles in 30 mins, 2.13m in 20 mins.

Zliten: 14 swim lengths (350m) in 10 mins, 21.1 miles in 30 mins, 2.13 in 20 mins.

For me, that was actually good enough to take home the overall win for the ladies (out of 10 participants)!!!!  I was #1 on the swim, tied for #1 on the run, and #7 on the bike.  Oddly enough, I placed #1 on the bike last year and #5 and #6 on the swim and the run.  I really can only say that’s indicative of who decided to show up that day, and not my abilities.  I should have been beaten on the run.

I say I love HR training because I did exactly as I expected.  I knew that my run was not anywhere up to snuff, so I expected between 9-10 min/mi.  I swam my last swim test right around 100m/2 min, so I knew I’d be close.  My biking is much better than last year.  My runs have been not as good as last year.  So I did what I could, hurt as long as I could, and feel like it was a good Feb effort.  I have many things I want to do:

  • Break 2min/100m on the swim.  I know I can do it.  When I started breaking down on form I didn’t start thrashing more, I just took a deep breath and thought “long, fast efficient fish” and got back to it.
  • I know I need to get better at the hills on the bike.  Biking on a trainer/spin bike is awesome and all, but I need to get my quads about 2x my size now to bust up that shit.  SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS (like shots shots shots shots, but different).  This means more outdoor rides!
  • Run speedwork + losing the fluff.  I know it will impact the rest of the disciplines (losing the fluff), but I don’t have the PRs I did to chase like I did on the other ones like when I was running and ~30 lbs down, so it goes here.
  • Lift heavy and don’t look back.  The IM inspiration videos I see don’t see people hefting 2lb weights.  They are squatting their bodyweight.  And I did that (+a little) last week. I intend to get these damn quads and hammies and calves and deltoids and abs and everything as big and strong as possible.

For now though, I’ll enjoy the win, and this deserved recovery week, and get ready for the Build 2 period in March.

Week 6: Scuba Ate My Life

Scuba ate my life last week.  I crashed and burned into Friday at 6pm with just about nothing left, but after a 3 day weekend (even though it was pretty busy), I feel pretty a-ok.

Squeezing in ~9 training hours, a full time job, and approximately 10 hours of class, 6 of them being in the pool – it didn’t leave us much time to do anything but sleep, except on Thursday, where we drank 4 bottles of champagne and then didn’t sleep enough.  Hence the crashing and burning on Friday.  That was our dumb fault but it was a needed stress release (though, an excessive one).

Food Stuffs:

I just tracked DQ score, not calories.

I gained some weight this week and there should be no reason why.

I won’t be doing that again.

Monday: 30
Tuesday: 32
Wednesday: 28
Thursday: 17 (drinks)
Friday: 23
Saturday: 26
Sunday: 11 (drinks, fancy v-day dinner)

Average: 24

It’s just becoming clear that my body isn’t working well with the ~2000 calories I’m taking in and the amount of training I do.  Even if it’s mostly all high quality food.  The scale should be doing something good, and it did something ELSE this week – lowest was 185, but my official weigh in day was 189.6!!!  Not cool.  Not cool at all.  I’m close to two months in, and instead of being 10-15 lbs down like I was hoping, I’m 5 lbs up.  All my numbers went the wrong way this week.  Nothing is changing for the good.  I gotta get this figured out because I’m definitely in unacceptable territory with the scale, and how I look, and I’m sure my feet issues can’t be getting BETTER as I gain.

So, there has to be a compromise here.  My goal this week is a DQ score of 20 or above, and calorie count each day of 1700.  What that means?  I’ve felt like a lot of days I’m spending the afternoon or the end of the day shoving shit (healthy shit, yes, but still calories) into my mouth to game the score even though I’m not that hungry.  I’m going to stop doing that.  If I have 3 veggies, 3 fruits, 2 meats, 2 grains, 1 dairy, and 1 nut, that’s 24.  Monday, I was able to come in with a 24 at 1695 cal.  That’s what I’m going to try to do all week.  Days I have a few drinks I’ll need to really focus on low calorie good quality food to do it, but I’ll get it handled.

This week, we’re also compromising on the batch cooking.  We just needed some downtime, so we got a few Snap Kitchen meals, and made 2 batch meals: chicken, veggie, and whole wheat spaghetti w/tomato sauce and beef stew this week.  We also have a few leftover meals frozen from other weeks (and of course, fish).   Should be delicious.  At some point I’ll feel mentally caught up enough to spend hours in the kitchen but until then, I’ll let them help a little.

Training Stuffs:

I may have needed talking off a ledge due to what’s happening on the scale, but the magic is happening here.

Unfortunately I can’t curl up into a little ball and sleep every time I don’t like the world like Kitty face.  So unfair.  Though there is no cat division for triathlon, so I guess it evens out.

Run:  Magic is happening.  My average pace is now consistently in the 11s below 155 HR.  That’s nice.  I rarely have to slow down and walk to get under 160, even on hills.  I feel like my running is finally at a point where I can incorporate some short strides this next week on one of my workouts without either spiking my HR or reinjuring my heel (that’s pretty much all better too, thanks Sauc0-ponies!) so that’s a bunch of yay.

I also did my 30 min run test Sunday.  It almost wasn’t a fair test because a) I put in over two hours of training the day before instead of resting and b) I spent 5 hours that day before on my feet volunteering and almost 2 hours cheering that morning for the marathon.  My leggies were toast during that test, and I had a bit of an allergy flare up (snot snot snot lungs blech), but I got on with it the best I could and maintained a 9:35 average pace for 3.13 miles in 30 mins, with a 170 avg HR.  That’s right – 21 seconds faster per mile at 5 BPM lower.  I just could not shove my heart rate up any higher.  I’ll take it.  Hoping I can get a really solid test in next month and see that number improve even more.

Bike: Just lots more solid work on the trainer.  The one leg drills are helping me feel more fluid.  I’m going to try and start changing up my resistances like yesterday, where I did the first 40 at 2/5 resistance and the last 20 at 4/5.  I also need to be getting outside more – there’s just no good places to ride that don’t involve lots of stoplights and riding in 2 mile circles near us so we wait until the weekend so we can get to Pflug or Veloway – and then life gets in the way and driving 30 mins away doesn’t sound so good so we trainer.

However, last year, we didn’t have trainers and we did our first outdoor ride in March, and were huffing through rides longer than 10 miles, and I clocked my first 30+ mile ride this weekend and regularly hit 20, so there’s that.  I’ve got a pretty decent base riding flatlands, I just need to get some force in my leggies for them thar hills.  Because my first 70.3 has a LOT of them.

Swim: Loving the swim lately.  Did my swim test Saturday morning, and I took 2 mins 15 seconds off my time (went from 23 mins to 20 mins 45 sec for 1050m).  Enjoying swimming with the fins for warmups and/or intervals during easy days.  I’m futzing with the MP3 player a lot less.  I’m spending a lot less time waking up my stroke and having things just fall into place.  Going a little faster doesn’t make my form fall apart.

Being here so far from the beginning of the season makes me happy.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to blow all my swimming times from last year out of the water if all continues on current course and speed.  Also, I wish that Lake Pflugerville would hurry up and get warmer so I can swim in it.

Weights: Another good MT (transition to maximum weights) week.  I leg pressed 270, squatted 155, rowed 100, and upped my pulldown to 85.  For the lighter stuff, I’m doing situps on the incline now with a 10 lb weight and not completely dying.  Calf presses are at 90, and hamstrings I’ve inched up to 60 (need to work on these).

Now that my swim/bike/run is going better, I sorta look forward to these days less than when everything else was awkward and wrong and this was my only happy, but it’s definitely making me stronger, less jiggly, and more badass and allowing me to have better days at the other 3 disciplines, so I’ll keep on with my 2xweek lifting heavy things.

I have my first “race” this weekend – the Indoor Tri.  I predict I will kick my swim and bike’s ass from last year, but not quite be able to hold the 8:35-ish pace I did last year for 20 mins on the run.  But who knows.  It’s been a while since I knocked out anything but an EZ run on a treadmill and noticed my HR was about 20 BPM below what I would expect outside.  20 BMP up these days translates to about 2 mins/mile faster (11:40s to 9:40s), so by that magic I should be able to hold about 7:40s at 175, which I’m sure is not the case.  But hey, it will be interesting to see.  I placed 2nd in the under 40s last year, but that really depends on who shows up – it’s not like you know how anyone is doing until you see the results, you can’t really run anyone down.

I’ll be done and drinking my first mimosa around 9am Sunday, so I’ll definitely report in and let you know how it goes.

By the days:

Monday: Bike: 9.35 miles in 30, 117 HR avg/136 max  Weights: 3×12… 270 lb leg press, 95 lb rows, 75 lb pulldowns. 3×20… situps with 5 lb plate on incline, calf raises w/100 lbs.
Tuesday:  Swim: 1110m in 28 mins.  Run: 3.1 in 36:04, 150 HR avg/171 max
Wednesday: Swim: 900m in 22 mins. Weights: 3×12…. 155 lb squats, 100 lb rows, 80 lb pulldowns. 3×20… situps on incline w/10 lb plate w/twist, 60 lb hamstring curls.
Thursday: Run: 3.4 miles in 39:45, avg 155, max 186? (garmin was being weird at the beginning so I don’t think this is accurate. Bike: 15.25 miles in 45 mins, 139 HR avg/199 max (I KNOW this isn’t right)
Friday: off
Saturday: Swim: 1050m in 20:45, Run: 3.86 in 45 mins, HR avg 152/max 170 Bike: 33.5 miles in 1h30.
Sunday: Run test: 3.13 miles in 30 mins (avg HR 170).  +1.25 mile warmup and cooldown. (did a swim also but that counts for next week)

Total: about 8.5 hours.  I was short 30 mins this week of the 9 hour training goal, but I did scuba for 6 hours so I’m calling it a wash.

Other Stuff:

New glasses last week.  These look almost just like my old glasses but thicker.  I likey.

I got so cranky last Saturday that I had to put myself down for a nap like a 3-year old.  It was bad.  The world was ending I was so tired and when I woke up everything was just fine.  Hate when I get that way!

Scuba was just fucking COOOOOL.  I got to spend 6 hours in the pool breathing underwater and doing drills and figuring out how to use this stuff and it was a BLAST!  I did kinda freak out the first day because I couldn’t equalize the pressure in my ears well, but once I remembered to swallow and plug my nose and blow air out my ears it was AWESOME.  By the end of pool day 2 I was floating neutrally buoyant and hanging out in the deep end of the pool like a badass.  We still need to do our lake dives in two weeks to get certified, but I’m only about 25% nervous and 75% excited for that!

Our friend Mariko (I work with his husband and have hung out with/ran with them on a few occasions) WON the Austin Marathon.  How cool is that?  I’m all inspired and feel like since I handed her her nutrition at mile 18, I’m pretty much the reason she won (not at all – she’s just a crazy awesome talented runner).

I think I have forgotten how to relax.  On my day to do nothing, I cleaned the house, transferred clothes from the old to new dressers in the bedroom, put away laundry, typed up a blog post, and batch cooked.  We did get some time to become one with and nap on the new couch, and didn’t leave the house.  So I feel pretty recharged, but still, I miss my talent of laying on the couch and not getting up to do anything but pee and make food.

We had late Valentine’s Day dinner at Bartlets.  Amazing amazing best filet in town, caesar salad (a splurge for me since the dressing is sooooo calorific), delicious wilted spinach, and we shared a phenomenal piece of key lime pie.  With a side dish, the filet lasted me two meals.  I love that place.

I think I may have our vacation time at the ports and the workouts we need to accomplish pretty much planned out.  Now, life needs to not hand me a weird and foil my plans.  I have WAY too much running across islands, snorkeling, scuba, ocean swimming, SUPing, and checking out rainforests, museums, and shopping to do.

So that’s Quix in a nutshell.  Question of the week: (think of a question)

Week 5: No Time, No Time, No Time

I’m really glad I got my Sunday do-nothing day last week as this week launched into a new level of crazy.

Something blew up at work and I was there from 9am – 3am and then back in at 10am for a short day (left at 4pm).  I ducked out Monday evening to get in my weights, but I didn’t feel like I could be gone long enough to swim too, so I missed a swim Monday night and a trainer session Tuesday morning because, well, precious sleep.

I was on about 5 hours of sleep Tuesday, and thought of a billion different reasons why I shouldn’t go on my lunch run (tired, stressed, grumpy) and realized those were all reasons I NEEDED to go, and after some time in the warm sunshine, I felt amazing.  I was even able to make up my trainer ride that evening before I took a long long nap and slept 8 hours shortly after that.  I just had to bag the swim, which sucked but I think I’ve made peace with it.

The rest of the week went as planned, but was still very busy for various reasons.  We’re kinda hooked on Downton Abbey now, and we sat and watched a whole episode because we needed a damn moment to relax, but then we stayed up too late getting things done.  Relaxing for a 40 minute show was too much. 😛  That’s how life has been lately.

Later in the week, after Zliten was cleared for Scuba by his doc (because of his history with athsma, he needed a note), we signed up for classes this week.  Some couples do candy and flowers and fancy dinners, we learn how to dive…. romantical scuba!  I love it.  However, when they said there was a little homework to do before the class, we didn’t realize that meant a 300 page textbook, 5 quizzes, and 3 hours of DVDs.

Saturday was a slammed day as well – 8am wakeup to get a run in at Lake Pflugerville, bagged the bike since it was too windy and cold and gross, met my parents for lunch, played cards, swam laps in their pool, left, stuffed a veggie sandwich in my face, came home and trainered for not nearly as long as we wanted to and jumped off and changed straight away to try to not be too late to our friends’ house for games.  12 hours of gogogogogogo.

While Sunday was packed with studying, it’s sort of a relief to sit and focus on one thing (although there were short breaks to clean… and laundry… and internet… and nap…. ) and not leave the house.

Next week will be hectic too, but we do have a 3 day weekend at least to pack all the weekend stuff in, so we might actually get to relax a little.  Please? Maybe?

Workouts:

I may possibly have gone off the deep end with all the other crap going on if things weren’t going well in this area, but this week in training has actually been… pretty awesome!

Running: The magic is starting to happen with the zone 1/2 running.  It’s getting easier to stay in my zone and actually run instead of just sort of prancing and limping along.  I clocked two runs this week under 12 min/mile pace averages while staying around 150.  One of them even was a 10k run, which is the longest I’ve ran by far since the marathon, and it just felt fucking fantastic and I wanted to keep going.  Also, the shoes are working their magic.  My heel is not 100% better, but it’s been improving, and running doesn’t seem to really aggravate it, so I’m calling it a win.

I feel like I can actually show my runner card without feeling like a chump this week, finally.  I may not be anywhere close to where I was before, but the improving is certainly making me feel like I might actually be able to do something decent by the time I have to rock out with my tri suit on.  Running is making me happy again, which is comforting.

Biking: I’ve upped my resistances and my speeds are settling back down to what looks reasonable for me.  I’m going to continue doing my monthly test on the easy resistance just to gauge progress, but I need some more quad busting in my life.  Also, one leg drills are evil and hard, which means they are going to make me awesome come tri season.  Bummed we didn’t get a chance to ride outside this week, but hoping for next week.

Swimming: The fact that I missed one swim sucks, but Saturday’s swim made up for it.  Wednesday I swam ok – my (now) normal 1200m in 30, but I did spend some time helping Zliten with his stroke, so if I would have been focused I could have done some more, but it was totally worth it.  Saturday, we swam in a real 25m pool at my parents’ gym.  I started  with 250m (10 lengths) of fin drills and HOLY CRAP those really help you feel out the position you should be kicking in.  I took those off and did 52 more lengths (1300m) feeling faster and more efficent than I ever have.  I was digging my new music too.  I finished 1550m in 32 minutes, which is essentially magic gobbledy gook for me.  I’m going to be incorporating more fin drills because, well, damn.  I suppose I can give a little credit to the fact that I had a cup of decaf coffee and I was bouncy but… yeah… magic swim.

Weights: Lifting less reps heavier is just plain FUN!  For someone who really likes seeing numbers and progress, it was sure fun to pile 155 lbs on the squat bar, and 250 lbs on the leg press, 70 lbs on the pulldowns, and 90 on the row.  On the machines, I’m about halfway into the stacks, which is nice rather than being close to the top.  This week and next week transitions to the real heavy lifting, and I’m a little scared of some of the loads they want me to work towards, but I’ll give it a go to get there, but at least I have one more week before I think about that.

Overall, I feel finally like my body is getting back into shape and feel a little more like an athlete than someone who badly plays one on TV.

Next week will be a challenge to get in our training and do the dive classes and volunteer and cheer at the Austin Marathon, but we’ll get it done.

By the day:

Monday: Weights: 3×12… 250 lb leg press, 90 lb row, 120 lb calf raises, 70 lb pulldown. 3×25 situps w/twist w/10 lb plate. Swim: bagged due to a 17 hour workday.
Tuesday: Run: 3.1 miles, 37:45, HR not recorded (around 150 avg).  Bike: 15.53 in 45 mins (harder resistance setting). 3 miles w/u, 3×1 min one leg drills each side (lighter resistance) with a 1 mile rest interval concentrating on either pushing the downstroke, or pulling the upstroke, 2 miles, 5 mins heavy resistance, 5 mins cooldown.
Wednesday: Weights: 3×12… 155 lb squats (on smith machine), 90 lb rows, 70 lb pulldowns. 3×25… situps w/twist w/10 lb plate, hamstring curls w/55 lbs.  Swim: 1200m in 30 mins.  Helped Zliten with some drills and form.
Thursday: Bike: 9.5 miles in 30 mins…resistance up + 3×1 min 1 leg drills on each side + busted quads from squatting 155 lbs yesterday = slower (no HR data, but it was around 120 avg, 145 max).  Run: 3.1 miles in 36:15.  Never thought I’d be so happy to be running sub-12 minute miles. 152 AVG HR, 169 max
Friday: off!
Saturday: Run: 6.26 in 1:15, Avg HR 153, max 173.  Crazy good feeling.  Wanted to run forever. Swim: 1550m in 32 mins.  Magic swim was magic.  Bike: 15.04 in 45 mins, 136 HR avg/161 max.
Sunday: off

Food:

Planning and diet quality score really salvaged this week, because it could have gone to a bad, bad place.

I certainly could have justified some mad bad food after the work issues and probably been on a junk food spiral for a day or 2.  And then I could have forgotten to eat better, and then it would have been the weekend and I would have just started again on Monday.  However, having to keep accountable to that little count every bite of food really helped me.  Saturday involved cake and booze and poor planning and almost every moment not at home, but at least it wasn’t negative.

Monday: 30
Tuesday: 31
Wednesday: 30
Thursday: 18
Friday: 25
Saturday: 8
Sunday: 29

Average Diet Score: 24.4 – not as good as last week’s 27.4, but 24 is still a pretty awesome score.

The scale may not love me right now at a low weight of 185.0 and a high weight of 187.2 (it was also that time of the month), but my body fat went down another .7% and my muscle % went up too.  I am starting to see less wiggle too, so that’s good stuff.  I suppose slow and steady is the only way she goes.

No average calories.  I fell off this at the end of the week and am finding that a 28-31 day is generally about 1800-1900 calories, and I tend to eat the same things over and over, so it’s only really enlightening (read: depressing) when I have a day that’s abnormal due to social situations or whatnot.  I would imagine I’d be similar to last week.  This week, being mad crazypants, I’m going to just stick with the diet quality.  I’ll return to tracking calories soon (hold me to it), but diet score should stop me from tripping and falling onto pizza and cake.

Other Stuff:

This week was super game-y!  We played a board game with friends from work (I was TWO points off winning – curses!!!) on Thursday.  Then Saturday, we played cards with my parents as per usual, and then got some friends together later in the evening and we played Munchkin!  So incredibly fun.  Our game night resolution is working out well, it’s nice to gather for a reason other than just getting inebriated (booze was had, but it’s nice that it was not the focus).

Besides the crazy amount of studying before we didn’t expect, it was a lot of fun to learn.  Tomorrow, we do our first confined (pool) water dive.  I get about FOUR hours (30 min swim AM, 3h30m dive training) in the water tomorrow so I am a happy happy girl-fish.

It’s getting close-ish (within a few months) to the cruise, so I’m starting my planning for the ports.  Last time I made very rigid plans (run here, bike here, etc), this time, I’m trying to come up with a running route, bike rental shop, and how to get to the best beach for snorkeling in the cheapest and most efficient way, and noting anything else we should make sure to see or do for each port.  Then, try to play it by ear depending on what we feel like doing that day.  It’s not quite time to make a packing list, but I do love planning – it makes me more excited to go do!  Anyone have a “don’t miss” sight or activity for: Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominca, or St. Thomas?

Birthday season is coming up.  I’m not really sure what we’re going to do for Zliten’s and mine beyond eat lots of crab as per tradition, but for my good buddy D’s birthday we’re going camping!  Very much looking forward to it, the last trip was AWESOME!

That’s about it!  Question of the week: have you Scuba’d?  Would you want to?  What’s something you want to learn about?

Week 4: In Creeps The Doubt

I’m feeling a little mentally thin, y’all.

I’m sure I’ve got nothing on half the people in this world, and it’s a lot of GOOD THINGStm, but there’s been a lot to this January 2013.

  • My stupid fucking cranky heel.  I think (hopehopehope) I’ve resolved this by getting new shoes (NOT Asics, after running in Asics just fine for 5 years) because apparently I pronate now (after not pronating for 5 years).  However, I cranked up the treaddy pretty fast to test them out on Friday, and running in a bunch of different shoes + that + some time in regular shoes (that were just fine 2 months ago :P) on Thursday = ouchy heel again.  I got out Saturday morning to test them out and they felt AWESOME, but I cut it at 1 mile walking and 1.5 miles running and my heel felt fine during, but obnoxious after.  FFS, I ran a marathon in November.  Now, I’m pegged at a mile and a half run at 12 minute miles.  Way to make me feel like a wuss, body.
  • Work stuff.  Don’t really want to go into it, but it’s a factor.  I think part of it is now the way of signed, sealed, and delivered, but there is still a lot of uncertainty.  Stretching.  Being confident in the face of trying to be something more.  And realizing that it may not work out in any way shape or form.  This stuff is exciting, wonderful, stressful, and horrible for me.
  • Goals.  Things beyond racing, staying healthy to race, and training.  Being well rounded is WAY more work than it’s cut out to be, when you are not, in fact, good at being well rounded.  When you are good at being mega-manical at what your passion is, it’s tough to focus elsewhere and realize it’s for good and not just a distraction and frivolity.
  • Heart rate training.  Awesome for biking because it pushes me on the trainer, but holy crap, making me feel like a noob runner again.
  • 3 bikes, 3 runs, 3 swims, 2 weights.  They may be short, but it does feel like a LOT of training.  My workout hamper is way fuller at the end of the week than my regular one, and it’s only prep month!
  • Getting accustomed to another way of thinking of fueling.  Again, GOOD STUFF, but it’s taking a lot of pre-planning and different.  Different is stressful.  Also, different in a way that is not taking weight off quickly which I was hoping for in a very bad way.
  • Between stress and allergies, I’m not sleeping well.  For someone who regularly passes out cold and wakes up 8-9 hours later, I’m not coping well with this.
  • I would really really really really really really like the scale to cooperate a little more than it is even if I am making progress elsewhere. 185 is NOT AN OK SET POINT BODY.  I’m back to eating good things and training again, you can go ahead and start shedding the lbs now, thanks.

It’s not to say I haven’t been here before.  I could barely run 5 miles June of ’11, when I made my push to take back the summer.  I’ve taken weeks off running to heal an injury.  In August, I was forced to take a day off due to an emergency, and the thought of “OMG is so and so ok” was just barely above “OMG thank the dear fluffy lord I have an excuse to take a day off”.  I’ve changed up my diet before.  I’ve gone through work stress.

But fucked if this has not all quite happened at exactly the same fucking time.  While I’m also trying to achieve some balance in my life which is more stressful than one might think.

So, in creeps the doubt.  Is this it?  Can I top my accomplishments last year?  Can the dominos fall my way yet again?  Will I die of exhaustion?  Will my body fail me?

Each time, I find my way.  The endurance comes back.  My body relearns what it was to be awesome.  My mind wraps itself around the task at hand and goes forth to conquer.

But each time, before that, I feel so far away I just can’t fathom being back there.

Peaks and valleys.  Late summer and fall, I was standing on top of a big fucking mountain.  I couldn’t imagine lacking the endurance to bust out a 50 mile bike or a 15 mile run or a 4 hour brick.  I completed a half ironman and was back training in 2 days.  I ran a marathon and just wanted to run more.  That was just life.  I was fucking unstoppable.

Now, I’m fragile.  No injuries last year, high (for me) volume.  Now, I have a failing heel and my running sucks and the only thing I can post PRs at is in the weight room (and believe me, that is one thing that is making me sane and sticking with it – lifting super heavy low reps is sorta fun) and the weight won’t come off and there is very little about right now that makes me feel like a bad ass.  At no point last year did I not feel like I could bust out a half marathon and today I would be lucky to run a 10k, and it certainly would be below marathon pace right now.

It makes me regret taking an offseason, but I think the promise of an offseason got me through the crazy of Aug-Nov.  I figured I’d be coming back stronger.  This sure doesn’t feel stronger.

I know it’s just about investing in the plan and plugging away.  There is no way eating good food and training consistently will not get me back there.   I was just hoping I’d feel a little less “herp derp I promise I am actually a runner for reals, and there are muscles under this, and I swear I don’t just eat cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes” sooner.  And I don’t.   And it sucks.

So, getting that rant out of the way, here’s the deets…

 Food:

Everyone, my diet quality scores were OFF THE HOOK this week.

Monday: 30
Tuesday: 31
Wednesday: 28
Thursday: 26
Friday: 28
Saturday: 21
Sunday: 28

This is the one of the worst things I ate last week, simply because it’s not “whole grain” but I do love me a kebap full of veggies, chicken, and yogurt sauce!

Average? 27.4.  Huge!  When I decide I’m going to eat all the right things and plan it out, I can do it.  And honestly, when you eat all the right things, there’s just not much drive or desire to eat many wrong things.  I splurged on a sweet on Friday and Sunday, and had a few drinks on Thursday and Saturday (and I may have had 1/3 of a cinnamon roll that I called an “ergogenic aid” since it was right before a bike ride, but still…).  I STILL didn’t have a day under 20.

This is exactly the way I need to keep eating to give this diet quality hotness a good test.

Average calories: 2035 (~75 less than last week).  It would have been more like 1900 except Saturday was a whole lot of calories (eating a few of the wrong things + the right things + lots of training fuel = ~2700)

Weight: lowest 183.2, highest 186.4

This week’s weight will be blown all to hell because of it being that happy special sucky time of the month, but I’m keeping up with the planning and diet quality maxing, and hoping for greatness.

Workouts:

Monday: Weights: 3×22… 200 lb* leg press, 50 lb pulldown, 115 lb squats, 20 lb dumbbell chest press, 65 lb* rows, 90 lb calf raises, and 3×25 situps w/10 lb plate w/twist.  Swim: 1200m in 30 mins.
Tuesday: Trainer: 11.78 miles in 30 mins.  Run: 3.1 miles in 37:45.
Wednesday: Weights: same as above but 3×25 of everything.  Swim: 1200m in 30 mins.
Thursday: Trainer: 11.05 miles in 30 mins (did some 1 leg drills that slowed me down a bit). Run: .8 miles of heel fail, then elliptical for 20 mins.
Friday: off
Saturday: Run: 1 mile walk, 1.5 mile run in 37 mins.  Swim: 990m in 22 mins. Outdoor bike: 12.17 miles in 46:45.
Sunday: off

Weights are fun guys!  Can’t you see the happy look on my face?

As you can see, all that speed on the trainer?  Translates almost nothing to outside.  Yet.  I think I’ve forgotten what it is to not just ride consistent speed/effort, so it will take a bit to bring up that number (though – when I was actually working on being fast, those loops were about 17 mph, so that’s something for the first ride of the year, especially when my bike has somehow gained about 10 lbs since tri season).  It’s now time to start working the resistance and speed and pushing some zone 3 HR on the trainer so I can remember what it feels like to hurt on the bike again.  Considering our first 70.3 is supposed to be super hilly and hard, it’s time to get back to the pain.

Let’s just not talk about running this week.  It just makes me sad.  At least I got those new shoes and my heel is feeling better and I think I may be able to run on it tomorrow.

Swimming has actually been my favorite lately.  Things keep clicking.  “Oh, fingers together and pushing the water!  Holy crap!” “Really extending my shoulders!  Shut up, that feels GREAT!”  And after I get my upper body in line and start thinking about my legs, they actually start doing the right thing as well.  I’m working on some breath work now (5 strokes to breathe, then 7) and that’s feeling awesome too.  Maybe I’ll just quit triathlon and work on becoming an awesome swimmer… kidding…

Weights have also been cool.  Accomplishments!  Wheee!  I am actually sad to see this phase end because I felt like I was making great strides with it, but now it’s time to transition to REALLY lift heavy.  Exciting stuff.

Next week we up the intensity just a little with some efforts allowed into zone 3, some gentle speedwork (very short sprints or strides), and some drill work on the trainer and with the runs.  Looking forward to it.  We add just a little time overall.  Prep time is over.  Time to begin the climb of the build.

Other Stuff I Have Done:

Not much actually.  I finally got some downtime and spent all day in bed just relaxing and it was everything I wanted out of a Sunday after hours of Run! Swim! Appointment!  Lunch! Bike! Cook!  Party! on Saturday.  I feel about halfway recharged.  Today’s 15 hour work day isn’t going to help things, but I really think of the bad state I could be in if I didn’t just lounge yesterday, and am happy I did it.

So yeah.  A little bit of the messy middle right here on display.  I’m sure I’ll look back and think how silly I was in a few months, but right now?  Yeah, right down in it.

Question of the week: What is NOT going right for you right now? Misery loves company.  What are you doing about it?

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